HOW TO SURVIVE THE FIRST FEW MONTHS WITH A NEWBORN
As I type this, I am 32 weeks pregnant with my second son, and am reminiscing on the terrifying (yet beautiful and transforming) experience I had with my first son as a newborn. Now, I come from an extremely large family (we’re talking 50+ cousins), and babies and kids have been a constant in my life. That being said, being with a newborn 24/7 was an incredibly new and scary experience for me.
So, without further ado, here are 5 things I wish I knew with my first, and what I will make a poster of as a constant reminder with my second:
#1 ASK FOR HELP
Do not be afraid to ask for help – or find someone who is in your shoes to bounce ideas/experiences back and forth with. Whether this is your first or fourth…every baby is different and I found it so helpful to pick other moms brains to see what worked and didn’t work for them. And honestly, just for moral support. There will be times you have to put your baby in a safe place and walk away when they are screaming uncontrollably, and knowing another mom did that same thing yesterday makes the tears flow a little less.
# 2 DON’T COMPARE
Don’t compare yourself or your baby with anyone! Seriously! I have seen moms post pictures of their babies “sitting up unsupported” at three months. And I will tell you what: it is a huge, fat lie. First, lady, the baby is propped up in their crib against pillows! Everyone can see that. Secondly, did you give birth to Superman? No. What I am saying is, social media can be awesome for mom support groups…but it can be the devil for comparing. Don’t fall into the trap and don’t let it bother you if someone else’s child reaches a milestone before yours. Chances are they will both be wearing a cap and gown leaving the house in 18 years, and both of you moms will really have something to cry about.
#3 LET YOUR SPOUSE/PARTNER HELP
Yet, also give them direction. As much as I thought I knew what I was doing with a baby (which was a huge misconception), your partner/spouse may be faking their confidence, too. There is an extremely fine line between bossing them around and helping them help you and develop a bond with your new child.
I suggest saying something like, “Hey, hunny, it would be so helpful if you did _______ for me” or simply asking them if they are doing okay and seeing how you can help them.
*Disclaimer, I just asked my spouse how he would like me to handle the situations where I need help and according to him, me sighing loudly and often isn’t obvious. He said to just ask him. Maybe this is a unique situation per spouse/partner, and it is best to be open and communicate and problem solve before either of you explode.
#4 LEAVE THE HOUSE
The first few times you leave the house will be unbelievably scary and intimidating. Start small: baby’s doc appointments, pickup something to-go for dinner, an incredibly quick run to get coffee, etc. Keep baby in their seat and get a ON-THE-GO SOUND MACHINE to keep your little one soothed. It WILL get better, I promise 🙂 And hey, if you never want to leave the house, there are some simple solutions…support your local businesses.
#5 TAKE A TON OF PICTURES
Remember to take a ton of pictures (the first year is full of crazy changes) and ALSO remember: it is okay to take time to yourself to breathe, to relax, to do something that makes you feel like yourself. Take advantage of family members cuddling your little one to go take a soak in the tub or get lost in a book or Netflix series and stuff brownies in your mouth. What I am saying is TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF, and everything else will feel better 🙂